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Janet's Corner

Home | 2006-2007 | 2005-2006 | 2004-2005
The Incomparable Greatness of our God

Isaiah 40:9-26

 

As I was worshipping two weeks ago, I realized at the end of our time of praise, I sighed deeply. God had strengthened me, bringing me comfort through concentrating on who He is. And I continued to receive strength as the Word was preached. God longs to reveal Himself to us as the God of comfort as we praise Him. Today we will look at how Isaiah turns the minds of God’s people to the incomparable greatness of God to turn their hearts to praise.

 

Read Isaiah 40:18

To whom, then, will you compare God?

What image will you compare him to?

 

If you had to describe God with one metaphor, what would it be? What picture comes to your mind?

 

Even Isaiah, one of the major prophets of God, found it impossible to describe God using only one word picture. How can we capture the greatness of our God adequately? These verses in chapter 40 give an excellent description of our infinite God. These verses will give us reason not only strengthen us, but to share the good news with others around us!

 

You, who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You, who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"

 

The Lord calls the people to shout from the mountain tops to the cities of Judah the good news that their enemy, Babylon, has been defeated and their captivity is over. Today the good news that we are called to proclaim is Christ crucified! Sin and Stan have been defeated by Jesus and salvation is available to all who trust in Him. We are to lift up our voices with a shout and not be afraid. Have you ever been afraid or held back to proclaim the greatness of your God? Perhaps because it’s not politically correct or doesn’t show tolerance of others beliefs? Remember the belief that Isaiah was refuting here in Isaiah 40 is that people believed that God was not any greater than the nations and their idols. Is it any different today? The lordship of God was on trial and is today. God wanted His people to know and proclaim the greatness of their God - with no fear, with no apology.

 

Will you?

 

In order to do that we need to know how great God is!

Isaiah goes on to describe God, to reveal His greatness, His sovereignty, His wisdom and His power.       

 

Isaiah 40:10-11 “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him.  See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

 

What’s the word picture here that reveals God to us? He is our shepherd -king. His mighty arm wins the battle, yet his loving arm carries His weary lambs. This is the first time in scripture that the conquering King, our Messiah, is portrayed as our shepherd. We see in the New Testament that Jesus is our Shepherd King! Do you know him in this way? For me, I had a wonderful example of a strong, yet gentle man – a gentle giant. That was my Dad. Yet God is infinitely powerful and gentle. What about your God? Have you known His powerful arm perhaps to rescue you while holding you close to His heart?

 

Isaiah continues to argue that God is incomparable, that He is supreme, that He is transcendent, above all else.

 

How did Isaiah describe God’s greatness in verses 12-17?

 

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
       or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
       Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
       or weighed the mountains on the scales
       and the hills in a balance?

 

He is creator – He cannot be measured, but instead measures all things.

 

13 Whom has understood the mind  of the LORD,
       or instructed him as his counselor?

14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
       and who taught him the right way?
       Who was it that taught him knowledge
       or showed him the path of understanding?

 

His mind is beyond all comprehension. He needs no instruction. He is wisdom! He is omniscient!

 

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
       they are regarded as dust on the scales;
       he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
       nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.

17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
       they are regarded by him as worthless
       and less than nothing.

 

He is sovereign over all nations. Even mighty nations are like a drop in a bucket compared to Him.

 

Isaiah continues this description of God’s supremacy with more questions in verse 18.

 

 18 To whom, then, will you compare God?
       What image will you compare him to?

 

Why would he do this? He wants us to think, to grasp how great a God we have access to through praise and His Word.

 

 19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
       and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
       and fashions silver chains for it.

 20 A man too poor to present such an offering
       selects wood that will not rot.
       He looks for a skilled craftsman
       to set up an idol that will not topple.

 

An idol is shaped by human hands. God is not. Man looks for resources – materials and a craftsman – to make idols that will not rot or topple. God will neither rot nor topple over! 

 Looking back at verse 16, there would not be enough cedars or animals to make sufficient sacrifices to our god. Our King Jesus, crucified and risen is enough to cover our sin!

 

I Corinthians 1:30 says that Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. He is above all idols on which man relies.

And beginning with questions again…Are you thinking?

 

 21 Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       Has it not been told you from the beginning?
       Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
       and its people are like grasshoppers.
       He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
       and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

 

God sits enthroned above the earth. Compared to Him, all people of the earth are like grasshoppers. The entire universe is like a little pitch-tent for Him.

 

God is immense in everyway. Can you grasp this?

 

 23 He brings princes to naught
       and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

 24 No sooner are they planted,
       no sooner are they sown,
       no sooner do they take root in the ground,
       than he blows on them and they wither,
       and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

 

He rules over the rulers of the world. Does that bring you comfort in our world today?

 

 

Here is the same question as in verse 18? Are you  getting the picture of God’s greatness?

 

 25 "To whom will you compare me?
       Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

 26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
       Who created all these?
       He who brings out the starry host one by one,
       and calls them each by name.
       Because of his great power and mighty strength,
       not one of them is missing.

 

He is creator and sustainer over all the universe. He is great in power, mighty in strength.

 

God has no trouble remembering you!!! Are you wondering if God really cares for you personally. He not only knows the stars by name, but each of ours. This truth is clarified in the New Testament as the ministry of Jesus, our shepherd.

 

John 10:3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

 

The same one that carries us close to his heart, knows our name!

 

If you are tempted to think the world around you is bigger than your God, remember “the drop in the bucket” of verse 15 and the ‘grasshoppers” of verse 22. The circumstances of your life can be what gets your eyes off of God. Weirsbe says, “If you look at God through your circumstances, He will seem small and very far away; but if by faith you look at your circumstances through God, He will draw very near and reveal His greatness to you.” What’s your outlook on life?

 

The more we know who God is, the more spontaneous our praise will be.

 

We re exhorted to praise God for His greatness throughout the Word. Do you ever wonder why? Does God need to be built up? Definitely not! In fact, you don’t have to think that God will ever get a big head from all the praise He receives!

There are two reasons that God calls us to praise Him.

 

1. God inhabits the praise of His people. As we lift Him up and enthrone him in our hearts, He makes His home with us. Donna Partow says, “It’s like a little heaven here on earth. He raises us up to heavenly places in the spiritual realm, giving us a glimpse of who He is and His greater purpose for our lives.” Do you want an out of this world experience? Praise your God!

 

2. Praise builds our faith.

The more we recite God’s attributes, the more confidence we have in Him.

 

In Timothy II 1:11-12, we are called to be heralds of that which we are convinced, without shame.

 

11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

 

When circumstances suddenly change or Satan starts whispering lies in our ears, we can choose to offer praise as a sacrifice of our lips.

 

How great is your God? Is there one of these scriptures that has stretched your image of God? This God that Isaiah has just described is the same God who invites us to approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). If you knew some human being like this – someone with a fraction of the power or influence - wouldn’t you want to stop by anytime and ask for whatever you need?

 

Not only is God faithful to do what He has promised, he backs it up with His greatness.

 

Are you praising God for his incomparable greatness?

How great is our God!

 

Next week we will see that this God gives us His strength to soar.